The Self and its source

So class, today I want you all to go read the following article. It’s okay, I’ll wait for you to get back. G’wan now, git! Don’t come back till you’ve read it.

Rare neurological patient shows that self-awareness does not require a complex brain.

There. Read it? Good. There will be a quiz after class.

Now, I want you all to think about what’ve just read, and then think about the implications it can have for us as ghost hunters. Specifically, I want to point out that what this case study seems to be telling us is that the sense of self may be either a function or an outcome of the neural network that links the parts of our brains together. To quote an old Sun Microsystems advert, “The network is the computer.” Or, to paraphrase in this case, “The network is the personality.”

In addition to proving very intriguing from a psychological perspective (as well as possible hope for at least partial recovery for brain damage victims), this may provide further evidence for the possibility of survival of at least a portion of a personality beyond physical death. If the sense of self, personality, indeed ‘personhood’ of an individual is generated or stored by the network of electromagnetic impulses passed between different portions of the human brain, could this set of energetic impulses somehow remain, detached from the corporeal structures in a human brainpan?

Of course the immediate, primary objection to this is that there would be no power source to maintain this network upon cessation of physical processes. But if we were to tie this personality network into other research that seems to show that consciousness is a quantum level event, then it may be that the physical energy from the body, powering the personality, is not necessarily required at all to maintain some semblance of self-cohesiveness.

In other words, the meat of the brain may just be an anchor, a capacitor, and a convenient network of connections through which impulses may travel along routes of least resistance. All of that is good, but is it truly necessary? Once your personality ‘matrix’, if you will, has been formed and established its quantum connections within itself, is the brain even a requirement?

Heady stuff, I know. (see what I did there? HAR HAR!)

But seriously, I may have to start taking a longer, more serious look at things like claims of out of body experiences. I’ve usually disregarded them in the past as a curiosity, with possible links to our own interests, but of no real concern to me as a spook chaser. I may need to revisit my attitudes and see if there is in fact a stronger connection than I once thought.

After I’ve had a few beers.

About Bob the Sane
The infamous Bob the Sane, Curmudgeon in Chief of the SGHA, beer taster, whiskey snob, gun freak, guitar hack, computer dweeb, and proud American Heathen.

Bob the Sane

About Bob the Sane

The infamous Bob the Sane, Curmudgeon in Chief of the SGHA, beer taster, whiskey snob, gun freak, guitar hack, computer dweeb, and proud American Heathen.

4 thoughts on “The Self and its source

  1. Alan M

    You mention other research that suggests that consciousness is a quantum level event. There is allot of debate about how accurate that actually is. Check out the link below.
    http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Quantum/QuantumConsciousness.pdf 
    If quantum consciousness isn’t the correct model, how does it change your perception of this research?
    Alan

  2. Nova

    I think this is a better source Allen πŸ˜›

    http://physics.ucsc.edu/~michael/qefoundations.pdf 

  3. Donald

    The main argument against the quantum mind proposition is that quantum states in the brain would decohere before they reached a spatial or temporal scale at which they could be useful for neural processing. This argument was elaborated by the physicist, Max Tegmark. Based on his calculations, Tegmark concluded that quantum systems in the brain decohere quickly and cannot control brain function.

  4. OMG I love you guys! LOL

    Seriously, that’ll larn me to open my mouth without doing more fact checking. I knew the quantum connection had it’s detractors, but I was unaware of Prof. Tegmark’s work, which would seem to put paid to the whole concept.

    To answer your question, Alan, I don’t think it really changes the direction I was heading with this line of thinking. It just means a different mechanism would need to be provided to explain the continuing presence of a personality after physical death. Which puts us no worse off than we started πŸ™‚

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